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Georgia's Rivers Alive marks 10 years
Keep Liberty Beautiful
1019 KLCB
A volunteer piles muddy debris into garbage containers during last year’s Rivers Alive cleanup. - photo by Photo provided.
Rivers Alive in Georgia is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month. In those ten years, much has been accomplished. Here are some quick stats:
• 182, 842 participants volunteered
• 3,862,348 pounds of garbage removed from 12,086 miles of waterways
• 1,191 cleanups held around the state
• 710,711 volunteer hours have been donated for these events
Wow! Almost four million pounds of litter and debris filled up more than 23,000 garbage bags and 256 dump trucks. That is a lot of trash. Our waterways are crucially important. We use them for drinking water as well as for fishing and recreational activities. These waterways are also important to our economy as well as our quality of life. So let’s just think about this a minute. If we wipe out these 10 years of Rivers Alive cleanups, what would our waterways be like today?
Well, I am glad you asked. The water you are drinking out of your faucet would have recently been floating around with 53,532 additional cigarette butts, 1,626 used motor oil bottles, 839 bleach bottles and 1,397 dirty diapers. That makes me thirsty. You might have been swimming or skiing with 6,081 tires, 143 fishing nets,  1,176 lures and 4,265 bait containers. I am sure you are running to get your swimsuit right now. You might have been boating with 1,206 car parts, 410 pieces of furniture and 403 appliances. The development authority folks might have been showing potential businesses around and had the opportunity to show them 12,610 cups floating around with 36,861 cans, 45,770 bottles and 17,299 plastic bags. Yes, I am sure new industry would jump at the chance to move to Georgia for that.
Thankfully, all these volunteers — including our several hundred local helpers in the last two years — worked to make a difference for our waterways in Georgia. This litter and debris is not just ugly to look at and gross to think about. Litter is devastating to the water where we fish and play and it hurts fish, marine life and birds that feed in our waters. They can mistake litter for food or become sick from polluted and littered waters. Periodic cleanups like Rivers Alive help us keep our waterways cleaner.
The mission of Rivers Alive is to create awareness of and involvement in the preservation of Georgia's water resources. Rivers Alive targets cleanups across all waterways in the State of Georgia, including streams, rivers, lakes, wetlands and the ocean. We will target at least 10 locations in Liberty County on Saturday, Oct. 25 in our local cleanups, including Riceboro Creek, Jones Creek, South Newport River and areas along Peacock Canal.
We also clean up areas in town where litter often begins its travels to our larger waterways. A significant percentage of our community population lives in what we deem our ‘urbanized area’ in Liberty County — including Hinesville, of course, Flemington, Walthourville and Allenhurst. Because of this, we have to be concerned about the amount of litter and debris that accumulates in these small creeks in town, like Peacock Canal.
Cleaning up around these local waterways is important because ground litter eventually makes its way into our larger waterways. Even if trash is not directly thrown into a waterway, it can eventually be washed by rain into creeks and streams.
Whatever ends up in these creeks and town storm drains will eventually end up in our rivers and ocean. In some ways, it is even more crucial to keep these areas cleaned and monitored than waterways further downstream.
We cannot do these events without the support of our sponsor, SNF Chemtall, who helps with the supplies and water and an absolutely delicious barbeque lunch for the volunteers each year. We also have a number of partners, including Be Seen Outdoors and The Coastal Courier, the City of Riceboro and the Liberty County Solid Waste Authority, who help get the word out and make the event possible. But we still can’t do this without those volunteers. Yes, let’s thank the more than 180,000 volunteers who have made a difference in the past 10 years, but on Oct. 25, let’s do more than that — let’s join them.

Upcoming Keep Liberty Beautiful projects that need YOUR involvement:
• Oct. 25: Rivers Alive in Liberty County. Mark the date on your calendar now and help with this annual event. Call 368-4888 or e-mail klcb@libertycountyga.
com to volunteer.
• Ongoing Coastal Living Holiday House. The house is loaded with ideas for holiday decorating and living green. Proceeds benefit our local United Way.
• Oct. 25: Munchkin scarecrow contest at the Community Fall Festival. Create your own pint-sized scarecrow between 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Win prizes for your creative ’crow.
• Liberty County: Home of the world’s largest crayon. Help us make this Guinness Book of World Records project a reality by calling 368-4888 or e-mailing biglibertycrayon@ The countdown has begun — we need all crayons by the end of October.

For more information on KLCB programs, contact Swida at 368-4888 or e-mail
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